Saturday, March 18, 2023
Friday, March 10, 2023
This month at First Things
Friday, March 3, 2023
Naturalism versus Katz’s Platonism
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Open thread combox
Jamiroquai, everything’s on topic. Just keep it civil and classy. Earlier open threads archived here.
Friday, February 24, 2023
Catholicism, CRT, and the spirit of the age
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Pope Francis contra life imprisonment
Friday, February 10, 2023
The Faith Once for All Delivered
Talking about All One in Christ
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
An anonymous saint?
Thursday, February 2, 2023
Avicenna on non-contradiction
We’ve been talking about the law of non-contradiction (LNC), which says that the statements p and not-p cannot both be true. (In symbolic notation: ~ (p • ~p) ) We briefly noted Aristotle’s view that skepticism about LNC cannot be made a coherent position. Let’s now consider a famous remark on the subject by the Islamic philosopher Avicenna or Ibn Sina (c. 970-1037). In The Metaphysics of the Healing, he says of such a skeptic:
As for the obstinate, he must be plunged into fire, since fire and non-fire are identical. Let him be beaten, since suffering and not suffering are the same. Let him be deprived of food and drink, since eating and drinking are identical to abstaining. (Quoted in the SEP article “Contradiction”)
Friday, January 27, 2023
Quantum mechanics and the laws of thought
The laws of thought are three:
1. The law of non-contradiction (LNC), which states that the statements p and not-p cannot both be true. In symbolic notation: ~ (p • ~p)
2. The law of identity, which says that everything is identical with itself. In symbolic notation, a = a
3. The law of excluded middle (LEM), which states that either p or not-p is true. In symbolic notation: p V ~p
Friday, January 20, 2023
Cartwright on theory and experiment in science
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Benedict XVI, Cardinal Pell, and criticism of Pope Francis
In the wake of the deaths of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal George Pell, it has emerged that each of them raised serious criticisms of aspects of Pope Francis’s teaching and governance of the Church. How might the pope respond to these criticisms? As I have explained elsewhere, the Church explicitly teaches that even popes can under certain circumstances respectfully be criticized by the faithful. Moreover, Pope Francis himself has explicitly said on several occasions that he welcomes criticism. It seems clear that the criticisms raised by Benedict and Pell are precisely the kind that the pope should take the most seriously, given the teaching of the Church and his own views about the value of criticism.
Saturday, January 7, 2023
More about All One in Christ
Monday, January 2, 2023
Koons on Aristotle and quantum mechanics
Sunday, January 1, 2023
The wages of gin
The Philosophy of Gin appears in the Christmas 2022 issue of The Lamp magazine.
Saturday, December 31, 2022
On the death of Pope Benedict XVI
Friday, December 23, 2022
Why did the Incarnation occur precisely when it did?
Saturday, December 17, 2022
When do popes teach infallibly?
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Is God’s existence a “hypothesis”?
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Davies on classical theism and divine freedom
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Augustine on divine punishment of the good alongside the wicked
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Update on All One in Christ
This book is perfectly subtitled in that it spends significant time evaluating both the church’s denunciation of racism and the incompatibility of Church teaching with CRT… Readers who seek a thorough overview of the church’s statements and position on racism will find it here, and Christians who have ever experienced confusion as to whether CRT obtains as a remedy for it will come away with the understanding that Christianity and critical race theory rest on entirely different first principles; indeed, they present irreconcilable worldviews…
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Adventures in the Old Atheism, Part VII: The influence of Kant
Immanuel Kant was, of course, not an atheist. So why devote an entry to him in this series, thereby lumping him in with the likes of Nietzsche, Sartre, Freud, Marx, Woody Allen, and Schopenhauer? In part because Kant’s philosophy, I would suggest, inadvertently did more to bolster atheism than any other modern system, Hume’s included. He was, as Nietzsche put it, a “catastrophic spider” (albeit not for the reasons Nietzsche supposed). But also in part because, like the other thinkers in this series, Kant had a more subtle and interesting attitude about religion than contemporary critics of traditional theology like the New Atheists do.
Friday, November 4, 2022
All One in Christ at Beliefnet
Earlier reviews of and interviews about the book can be found here and here.
Thursday, November 3, 2022
The teleological foundations of human rights
Natural law theory in the Aristotelian-Thomistic (A-T) tradition is grounded in a metaphysics of essentialism and teleology, and in turn grounds a theory of natural rights. This chapter offers a brief exposition of the metaphysical ideas in question, explains how the A-T tradition takes a natural law moral system to follow from them, and also explains how in turn the existence of certain basic natural rights follows from natural law. It then explains how the teleological foundations of natural law entail not only that natural rights exist, but also that they are limited or qualified in certain crucial ways. The right to free speech is used as a case study to illustrate these points. Finally, the chapter explains the sense in which the natural rights doctrine generated by A-T natural law theory amounts to a theory of human rights, specifically.
Friday, October 28, 2022
Divine freedom and necessity
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
It’s an overdue open thread
We’re long overdue for an open thread, so here it is. Now you can post that otherwise off-topic comment that I deleted three days, three weeks, or three months ago. Feel free to talk about whatever you like, from light cones to Indiana Jones, Duns Scotus to the current POTUS, Urdu to Wall of Voodoo. Just keep it civil and classy.
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Divine freedom and heresy
If it is a necessary truth that all will be saved, something makes it so. The only way it would be impossible for anyone to go to hell is,
1. that God could not do otherwise than cause human beings to love him or
2. that human beings could not do otherwise than love God.
3. There is no third option.
Both of these options, however, entail heresy. This is why universalism has been seen as heretical by mainstream Christianity for millennia, for good reason.
Friday, October 14, 2022
The latest on All One in Christ
Feser’s short book contains several excellent chapters that define, dissect, and ultimately demolish CRT. Not for nothing does writer Ryan T. Anderson call it “the best book I’ve read on the topic.”…
I presume none of Feser’s CRT sparring partners will actually read this book – they have proved themselves so impervious to even the most charitable and tempered criticism that they seem a lost cause…
Perhaps, then, the best target audience for Feser’s pocket-size refutation of CRT are those who thought embracing it would place them in the “good guys” camp, but have begun to realize they were suckered them into a spiral of endless self-abasement. There is no forgiveness or reconciliation in the anti-racist paradigm. That would mean equity had been realized – an end-state anti-racists will never allow, because it would eliminate their (very lucrative) raison d’être.
Thursday, October 6, 2022
Can Pope Honorius be defended?
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
The error and condemnation of Pope Honorius
The Church does not hold, however, that popes always teach infallibly when not speaking ex cathedra. The First Vatican Council deliberately stopped short of making that claim. One reason for this is that there have been a few popes (though only a few) who erred when not exercising their extraordinary magisterium. The most spectacular case is that of Pope Honorius I (pope from 625-638 A.D.), who taught a Christological error that facilitated the spread of the Monothelite heresy, and was formally condemned for it by several Church councils and later popes.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Aquinas on the sin of rash judgment
In these words our Lord forbids rash judgment which is about the inward intention, or other uncertain things, as Augustine states… Or again according to Chrysostom, He forbids the judgment which proceeds not from benevolence but from bitterness of heart. (Summa Theologiae II-II.60.2)
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Chomsky on consciousness
On the podcast Mind Chat, philosophers Philip Goff and Keith Frankish discuss the philosophical problem of consciousness with Noam Chomsky. Goff is a proponent of panpsychism and Frankish of illusionism, where Goff characterizes these, respectively, as the view that consciousness is everywhere and the view that consciousness is nowhere. (This might be a bit of an overstatement in the case of Frankish’s position, given what he says during the podcast.) Chomsky’s own position is not easy to capture in a simple label, but I think that it can, to a first approximation, be described as a kind of modest naturalism. The discussion is very interesting, and what follows is a summary with some comments of my own.
Monday, September 12, 2022
Perfect world disorder (sans paywall)
You can now read my recent Postliberal Order essay “Perfect World Disorder” without a subscription.
Friday, September 9, 2022
Talking about All One in Christ
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Perfect world disorder
My essay “Perfect World Disorder” appears today at The Postliberal Order. You can read it here (though a subscription is required in order to read the whole thing). Good time to subscribe!